I have a lifelong belief in reincarnation. Some say that makes things easier, but I think it means whatever we do now, we will reap the consequences in the future, when we come back as our own great-grandchildren*.
I also believe that the Higher Self (known by many names) gives each person experiences which ultimately deepen that person's wisdom and understanding, make that person strong and flexible, so that each incarnation, we are more able to live in a way that increases our Inner Light so that we can give a better and better example to others, as well as teaching us to give our support to others.
During this period of time, let's say the last 250 years, we have been realizing more and more that we live on a sphere, and there are limits to what we can do. Humanity is coming to the realization of our stewardship of the planet. The experiences we are having are measured to give us the gradual understanding and wisdom we need to take care of ourselves, the other creatures who live with us, and the earth, sky, waters and energies we have at our disposal.
As with an individual, the most painful experiences teach us the most. The current cycle of volcanic and quake activity, tsunamis, oil spills, storms and so forth, are giving us more and more the awareness we need to grow into our true place in the Universe, which is as the gardeners of this paradise.
*Meaning the great-grandchildren of this generation, not specifically one's own family.